Skip Navigation

2011 Fall Issue 3 (September 30, 2011)

It’s about to get a little windy: work starts on second turbine

September 30, 2011
By Noelani Kirschner

Carleton College is about to become the first private college in the nation to have two wind turbines, part of the College’s effort to become more environmentally sustainable.

The installation process for the second wind turbine began Sept. 26, and will be finished by this Saturday afternoon.

“The construction crews are assembling the blades to the nacelle, or nose cone, on Wednesday, “ explained Martha Larson, the Project Manager for the Wind Turbine and Carleton’s Manager of Campus Energy and Sustainability.

“But weather permitting, the rest of the turbine will be completed on Friday and finished up on Saturday.”

The second wind turbine project planning has been underway since 2008. There have been many factors that have affected project development, including purchasing the individual parts of the turbine from good quality retailers, finding a good location for the placement, and efficiently getting installation crews to Carleton.

In addition, the project team had to get more than eleven different permits approved before Renew Energy Management could begin construction, including permits from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

The turbine, which was made possible thanks to a generous donation by Richard and Laurie Weiss Kracum ’76, is predicted toannually generate 5,000- 5,800 megawatts of energy. Located in the middle of a one-quarter acre plot of land near the Lower Arboretum, the wind turbine will hopefully catch enough wind to produce a large amount of Carleton’s energy needs.

The project team spent months analyzing different plots of land around Northfield to find the perfect spot that would be prime for catching wind before choosing its current placement.

“What’s amazing to me is how simple it is,” commented Larson.

“Unlike a complicated electrical power grid, its just a tube with wires that is expected to provide for over 25 percent of Carleton’s energy demands. It’s really great.”

After the turbine is completely constructed, the project team will make the electrical and fiber communication connections in the turbine’s main body, connect it to the power grid, program the software that manages the turbine’s function and then run a series of electrical tests to make sure the machine is running infallibly.

Once the turbine passes these tests, it will be ready to run.

“We hope to get it up and running by Oct. 21, in time for the donor’s visit,“ Larson said. “The dedication ceremony will be at 4 p.m., ready or not.” 

Add a comment

Please login to comment.